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From textbooks to hands-on learning

Students don’t always find university is the best fit for them, and transfer their studies to college. The Times spoke with seven students who explain why they made the jump — and whether it has worked for them

Alexandra Timotheou

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First-year interactive media design student, Alexandra Timotheou


Alexandra Timotheou came to Algonquin College this fall semester after spending three semesters at Carleton University.

“I took psychology at Carleton, and now I am taking interactive media design here,” she said. “I figured that college was the best route considering it’s all hands on.”

Not only does Timotheou love that her grade is not based purely on a 50 per cent midterm and a 50 per cent final, she also has found Algonquin to be a friendly atmosphere.

“I love the smaller class sizes because if you get lost or confused during the lecture, the prof is right there to come and give you a hand,” she said.

Other than her transition from a huge class to a small class with professors that notice if you’re absent, Timotheou finds college is better for her.

Bianca Lemire

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First-year community and justice services student, Bianca Lemire


Bianca Lemire graduated from the University of Ottawa and decided to further her education at Algonquin in the community and justice services program this year.

“I switched so I could get more hands-on experience and because Algonquin actually offers a placement,” she said.

According to Lemire, college requires a lot of small assignments and homework. Her biggest transition was adjusting to weekly assignments.

“University was writing papers, midterms and exams and not much more,” she said. “The assignments here have so far been really different.”

Regardless, she feels the atmosphere at Algonquin does not compare to university, and likes how personal it feels.

Brittney Granger

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First-year community and justice services student, Brittney Granger


Brittney Granger came to Algonquin after graduating from uOttawa with an honours bachelor of social sciences. She is now taking community and justice services.

“I felt like I didn’t receive any valuable information that would be useful in the field,” she said. “My courses were heavily theory-based, which is nice, but it’s hard to apply theory to everyday situations.”

With the smaller classes Granger feels college is a lot like high school.

“University is more of a money-making machine,” she said. “You’re treated more like a person in college as compared to a number in university.”

According to Granger, because of the level of intimacy in her classes, she trusts that her college professors care more about her education.

Jamie Brown

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First-year practical nursing student, Jamie Brown


Jamie Brown came to Algonquin’s practical nursing program in hopes of being able to learn in a different way. That is, compared to how she felt after graduating from uOttawa.

“I wanted to gain practical experience,” she said. “University is basically all theory.”

According to Brown, both college and university require a lot of work. However, she finds college professors are better at helping to get you where you want to be.

“They want you to be successful here,” said Brown. “I also found the transition quite easy because I’m coming in as a mature student.”

Rokibul Hassan

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First-year entrepreneurship acceleration student, Rokibul Hassan


After realizing he did not have a passion for computer engineering, Rokibul Hassan left his program at Carleton University to join the entrepreneurship acceleration program at Algonquin.

“I wasn’t doing computer engineering out of my own interest,” he said. “It was more because of family pressure but I wasn’t into it.”

Other than the stress of not being able to make his own schedule, Hassan is so far loving college.

“It is very clear what we need to do and how we should approach things in order to reach our goals,” he said.

Hassan loves that he can now relate his studies to the real world, rather than constant memorization of things he did not enjoy.

Breanne Simon

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First-year geographic information systems student, Breanne Simon


Breanne Simon moved about three hours to Ottawa from Peterborough. She graduated from Trent University with an honours bachelor degree and is now taking the geographic information systems program at Algonquin.

“I got to experience geographic information systems late in my degree and it sparked a liking in me,” she said. “Algonquin seemed to be the overall best in Ontario for my program.”

Simon has already noticed how different things in college are taught. She felt university put a lot of stress on the concept and theory of everything.

“I like the practical approach my professors have with the content we are learning,” she said. “Less heavy readings and long lectures, and more application.”

Serena O’Dell

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First-year developmental services worker student, Serena O'Dell


Serena O’Dell transferred to Algonquin this year from Carleton University. She is taking part in the developmental services worker program.

“I found that university was too broad,” said O’Dell. “Everything I was learning felt like it had no direct career at the end.”

One of her favourite things about college is that unlike university, there isn’t an overcrowding of people crammed into one class. She finds she has been able to make friends while getting the proper education.

“I love that I am learning so much about something that I can actually use in a career that I am passionate about,” she said. “Coming to Algonquin just felt natural for me.”

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